May 30, 2006

The Notwist: Subtle Eloquence

Anonymous - Untitled

A request from Jenny of Excuse Me, What? strikes me poignant today... and the resultant ramblings about notable ruminators The Notwist follow.

Classified as pop in their home country of Germany, the Notwist's music is smooth electronic taking an exhuasted evening bath in a dark, thoughful marinade... perhaps as giddy as Germans get. Less Britney Spears and more Torq Campbell (of Stars), Markus Acher is the sullen tone that fronts a heterogeniety of careful construction and subtle application. The depth is not always immediately obvious amidst the pleasantly dreamy haze, but keep it close and it will find you.

The Notwist - Chemicals (mp3)

The Notwist - Consequence (mp3)

May 27, 2006


Jason Rhoades - Untitled [Chandelier] (2004)

You could chalk up Beirut's buzz to the inevitable summer transition where introspective notebooks and gloomy grey ties are ditched for margaritas and buzzing with new friends on the porch. Or perhaps it's the universal appeal of fun music with interesting inspirations and a worldy style that can whisk you away to the ideals of another place. Either way, Beirut joins with Man Man to support the ballooning credibility of traditional Russian hipsters and the darkly enticing party atmospheres they create. The depth of Zack Condon's instrument closet reminds me of my recent nocturnal nostalgia-fueled affair with the movie Everything is Illuminated and his vocals of a Rufus Wainright and Colin Maloy love child.

Beirut - Postcards From Italy (mp3)

May 23, 2006

Giddings Love For Who: Artist to Watch

Oliver Herring - Chris After Hours of Spitting Food Dye Outdoors (2004)

“If somebody actually just walks up to you and says, ‘Hey, do you want to do something out of the ordinary?’ there might be a little reluctance at first. But deep down, you want to do it. It’s adventure. That’s what brings people in front of the camera. I also feel that when you’re in your own environment that’s where you experiment, where you do all kinds of crazy stuff. So I thought, ‘Okay, let’s just see what happens if I allow that to unfold.’” — Oliver Herring (on the execution of his food dye exhaustion performances)

Giddings Love For Who is a young project built upon the talents and curiosities of Timothy Oyen and Jonathon Schoepk, two current Madisonians and soon-to-be New Yorkers. I usually wait to post early sounds until I gain the perspective of their album, but these have been sitting on my digital desk for almost a year and I can't horde them much longer.

The tracks are dynamic ratios of thoughtfully meticulous construction hazed by ambient laissez-faire. Heavily sterile electronics are counterweighted with Tim's expressively haunting vocals and mature ear. Small themes self-actualized with personal vulnerability explode to cinematic proportions in ways that simultaneously threaten and inspire. Elements tend towards being drawn out, but time spent is time rewarded. Rooted densely in life experience, artistic diversity and depth reveal a beautifully articulated perspective that has much to offer.

Based purely on their promise and perhaps prematurely, Giddings Love For Who is an enthusiastic pick for artist to watch. I'm told they are concentrating on laying an album and planning a tour for August... so you'll be hearing more!

Giddings Love For Who - Initial Remarks (mp3)

Giddings Love For Who - Step to Stream to Rivulet (mp3)

Giddings Love For Who - The Inevitable Pseudo Boy (mp3)

Giddings Love For Who - Representation of Time Express (mp3)

May 21, 2006

CHECKOUT: Asobi Seksu

Miwa Yanagi - White Casket (2004)

Miwa Yanagi's work focusing on Japanese "elevator girls" speaks in rich visual surreality about those of us who stand as structural symbols of status. To me, her images are able to capture the underlying irony that tints upscale product-mongering; a system largely facilitated by minimum-waged prisoners who are trapped supporting a world they can't afford, but dressed in stiflingly pleasant facades.

Asobi Seksu is a female-driven dream-pop outfit kept real by chillingly poignant dynamics and solid structure. Yuki's vulnerable vocals are perched atop a mature depth that sets the band apart from its pleasant, but often disappointingly-shallow pop peers. The music stands alone as an experiential mood and anaerobic storyteller, but the live show solidifies Yuki as an impressively confident performer... a true captain swaying and pounding her own way through the indie-rock landscape. Asobi Seksu's new opus called "Citris" is set to be released May 30th, 2006. Preorder it here or stand in line locally (Strictly Discs or B-Side in Madison).

Asobi Seksu - Thursday (mp3) [From the upcoming album Citris]

Asobi Seksu - I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me (mp3)

Asobi Seksu - Sooner (mp3)

Asobi Seksu - Walk on the Moon (mp3)

May 16, 2006


Wim Delvoye - Cloaca (2001)

Cloaca is a conceptual work that emulates the human body while staying as aesthetically far away from the humanistic as possible. A series of metal, tubing, conveyor belts, and chemical chambers create a system of computerized digestion and a mechanistic perspective on the biological process that fuel our livelihood. Here are more pictures.

My strange relationships with my roomates yielded yet another confusing situation as a few apparently said goodbye by taking the shower curtain, disassembling the wireless network, and removing large pieces of furniture. It's an odd transition period where I really need a change, but can't just walk away from the complex relationships that have been the substance of my life. And the way that we humans handle these things... managing our emotional connections with schedules and ranked priorities. Clashing like big metal machines devouring time and spitting out photo album goodbyes. I'm told this is just what happens.

We Are Scientists - Nobody Move [live] (mp3)

May 14, 2006

Candy, Ice Cream, Chocolate, and Good Dreams

Sally Mann - The Two Virginias (1988)
Rich stories thrive under the smoothed haziness of hindsight in Sally Mann's photographic masterpieces. Her use of antiqued glass plate photography processes and her own personal family moments as artistic subjects define a strong perspective exuding an undeniably loving motherly tone.

The first track is by Art Paul Schlosser, a local Madison artist and street performer whose brash insensitivity speaks a sensitive truth. Honest lyrics and uncompromised passions excitedly establish seemingly strange, but poignant contextual pairings of milkshakes, good dreams, and moms. The second is a new remix of an aforementioned musical obsession of mine called The Knife. If you haven't checked their unique style out yet, now's the time.

Art Paul Schlosser - I Like My Mother (mp3)

The Knife - We Share Our Mother's Health [Trentemoller Remix] (mp3)

You can buy an Art Paul CD for your mother here. He also has a tribute CD (other artists covering his songs) coming out soon, so I'll keep you updated!

May 13, 2006

CHECKOUT: The Sound Team

Tim Hawkinson - Uberorgan (2000)

I've posted Tim Hawkinson's Emoter before, but this is undeniably his largest kinetic scupture. Crawling along hallway ceilings and collecting in the atrium of New York's IBM Building (see in this picture), this continuous inflated baloon is actually a working musical instrument. Multiple horns guard the balloon's openings, which are carefully tuned to various notes and open from a central brain that operates via a simple magnetic piano roll mechanism. The spectacle of a flying, breathing, groaning octopus gives tremendous insight into the beauty and naturalness of sound creation and the possibility for human coexistence with substantial contributions from interactive art.

The Sound Team outputs a different kind of music, pulled much closer to the floor and with a grittiness characteristic of the position. Matt Oliver is not afraid to get his knees dirty and screams like he's enjoying swallowing an emo raccoon, while the guitars have plenty to wail about in the background. Do you remember that second-grade mother's day craft project where you scoured the yard for pine cones that you later rolled in peanut butter and finally in birdseed? Well, it's sound is kind of like that... except they're found in a Texan desert, rolled in cigarette ashes and deep fried. Oh yeah and you hang them in your myspace for hipster friends to knaw on.

The Sound Team - The Fastest Man Alive (mp3)

The Sound Team - Your Eyes Are Liars (mp3)

The Sound Team - The Movie Monster (mp3)

Largehearted Boy points towards a couple articles dealing with the status of online music innovations, if you're at all interested. First is a Washington Post article covering some of the most popular music blogs (Music For Robots, Said the Gramophone, Fluxblog, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, and Large Hearted Boy) and another piece about the beautiful (threateningly so?) You Tube and Hype Machine.

We’re living in that Napster-like magic moment where you simply can’t believe the kinds of historic stuff available to you with just a simple search. Which means of course that it’s all gonna get shut down ANY MINUTE."

May 11, 2006

Let's Get Out of This Country

Eleanor Antin - The Golden Death from "The Last Days of Pompeii" (2001)

"We finished this piece two-and-half weeks before 9/11…So the relationships between America as this great colonial power and Rome—one of the early, great colonial powers—were extremely clear to me." — Eleanor Antin

I'm accepting suggestions for places to move. I've been told that Belgium is a paradise complete with beer, chocolate, waffles, and the least stratified financial class system in the world. I've also been told that it is the most boring country in Europe, though the city of Bruges comes highly reccommended, and that the nightlife resonates with hollow techno music. My parents and my heart still want me to land in Ireland... so I can pursue an awkwardly-tall female and a purity of being only found in the relaxed rolling hills within Ireland's piled-stone borders. Several countries in Africa are always on the list, though my lack of language skills would limit interactions beyond an arrogant tourist (and I hate being a tourist). Basically, I need a place with a character and a job opening. If you know of any intriguing countries, organizations, projects, people, or jobs (neuroscience, public health, biology, writing, music, art, etc)... please let me know. Now is the time for inspiration.

Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This County (mp3)

New Muse:
Supermassive Black Hole [via Last Sound of Summer]: Scissor Sistery Chorused Guns N Roses Wailing Over Psychedelic Hard Rock Guitars
New Outkast: Mighty Yo [via Gorilla vs Bear]: Over-Rhymed Outkast Vocals Distracted By Uninspired Organ
Finally Released Art Brut: Good Weekend [via The Rich Girls are Weeping]: Catchy Brit Guitar Strumming Plodding Showcasing Brash Lyrics
Finally Released Gnarls Barkley: Crazy [via Clever Titles Are So Last Summer]: Instant Favourite Seventies Hip Hop Fusion Carried by Impassioned Vocals

Other notable new stuff released this week: Snow Patrol, Jolie Holland, and Beirut.

May 10, 2006

Among Spinach Delights

Gabriel Orozco - Cats and Watermelons (1992)

In addition to currently trying to graduate, there are a few beautiful things on my plate. As I push some around like inevitable Orwellian-titled spinach "delights" amidst the sweets I want to save for last, I offer a few tastes for your pleasure.

The Acorns - Plates and Saucers (mp3)
This is a subtle track (until all the utensil crashing, perhaps) that triggers memories of the best times hanging around and goofing... now from a reflective, poignantly removed perspective.

We're Not Talking About the Universe Are We... - Do You Think (mp3)
Courageous and expressive manipulations of vocals and dynamics. I'm very interested.

The Televangelist And The Architect - The The Unconscious Collective (A Tale From Williamsburg) (mp3)
This is maturely intricate storytelling with some of what I love of the Mars Volta with much more relevance. I know very little about this band, but can't wait to hear more.

Zero 7 (Featuring Jose Gonzalez) - Left Behind (mp3)
This is a short track that does little but announce the Zero 7 + Jose Gonzalez partnership... but that is really enough. Good things to come.

The Morning Benders - Grain of Salt (mp3)
These guys are a fun take on pop rock. Stokes references are inherent in the melodic simplicity and the expressive yet laid-back vocals, but their sound also touts some classic Big Star whimsy and vital Beatles instrumentation dotted with tour stickers from fellow rising star Voxtrot. Comparing bands to others is a blatant sign of reviewer laziness, but also that he's trying to say the music is worth the comparison and some serious checkin' out.

John Vanderslice - Exodus Damage (mp3)
This one is just because I should have posted it long ago. Dance dance revolution references should really be more prevalent in indie rock, but only if they're embedded in a synonymously interesting context.

Hello Nurse - Last One To Know (mp3)
This is not something I'd usually recommend, but the ska-jittered guitar is for my friend Beth and anyone else ready for a summer porch concert.

Downliners - La Nueva Escuela (mp3)
Sometimes I get obsessed with tracks just because they surprise me with variety too vast for me to easily wrap my head around. I suppose this is a bit self-deprecating because these complexities are the hardest to write about.